527.: trower to ricardo3[Answered by 533] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823.
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First published by Cambridge University Press in 1951. Copyright 1951, 1952, 1955, 1973 by the Royal Economic Society. This edition of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., under license from the Royal Economic Society.
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trower to ricardo
[Answered by 533]
Unsted Wood. May 25. 1823
My Dear Ricardo
Your last kind letter was forwarded to me at my Mother’s at Clapton, with whom we have been passing some time. Whilst there, we made occasional morning excursions to London, and I was in hope, upon some one of those visits, to have found my way to Upper Brook Street. But, unfortunately, I was then upon the invalid list; and was thereby necessarily much circumscribed in my operations. Since my return home I have found my health considerably improved, and hope, ere long, to be restored to my accustomed feelings.—
I read with interest the exposition of your opinions upon the subject of Reform; and find, that you are as great a radical as ever. You know, that I am inimical to all sweeping systems of reform; but I, at the same time, admit, nay more insist upon the necessity of such alteration in the practise of our constitution, as time and circumstances have rendered necessary. The course of events is progressive. Time waits for no man—and a long lapse of years may and must produce such alterations in the habits, opinions, and circumstances of a people as to render some changes in their constitution necessary, in order to preserve that sympathy between a people and their institutions without which there can be neither happiness, nor security—But here I would stop. Limit the changes to the necessity, and make these changes gradually.—
Well, what say you to Malthus’s Measure of Value. I am most impatient to hear! I have, as yet, merely run it over very cursorily, in order to see the sort of view he proposed to take of the subject; and therefore am not, at present, prepared to say much about it. But, I think there must be some fallacy in his reasoning—The points, that I doubt about are 1st. the reasoning by which he endeavours to prove the “constant value of labor,” and 2d. the mode in which he proposes to account “for the difference in the value of money in different Countries”—
Again his doctrine with respect to the effect of profits on the value of produce appears to me to be erroneous. Is not the fall of profits a consequence of the fall in the value of produce; and not a fall of value the consequence of a fall of profits.
I do not venture to give any decided opinion at present as I really have run over his book so hastily, that I am not qualified to pronounce upon it. I am glad he has taken an important principle singly, as it can more easily be investigated—I think too he ties you down much more closely than he is justified in doing to labor as the sole measure of value—You have distinctly stated over and over again, that profit is an important item in the value of all commodities—
He refers several times to a work of Mr. Torrens on the production of Wealth, is it worth reading?
I am glad to see he has abandoned his mean measure of Corn and Labor. No doubt he is a very candid man, and has truth alone for his object. The whole tendency of this tract appears to be to confirm the doctrine, in his former work, that the principle of supply and demand, and not the cost of production is the general regulator of exchangeable value.—
What he says of Blake’s notion is very just—“it has an air of contradiction not removed by shewing, that the main cause of high prices was a great demand.” —Nobody denies, that the effect which Mr. Blake attributes to an unfavorable exchange would operate for a time, but to make out his case he must shew that it operated permanently.—The last part of Blake’s book is very good. He treats the landlords as they deserve—Malthus too has given them a good hit or two, and the effects of both together will, I think, operate beneficially on the public mind. Surely Mr. Weston will abandon his motion. —I hope Corn wont get higher, but I fear it will. A short supply, with no present prospect of future abundance—
I thank You for the account you sent me of the number of dividends in the funds—I fully expected the numbers would have been greater. What say You to our Spanish speculation? Where is the national feeling in Spain? I think matters will be accommodated at Madrid—
By the by I wish you would enquire among some of your Spanish friends if any Talavera Wheat could be now got from Spain. I have sown it for some years, and with great success. But in course of time it deteriorates, and I should be very glad if I could get a fresh sample from Spain.—A small quantity would suffice.—
What say You to Quentin Durward—I have been very much amused with it. It differs considerably from some of his latter performances, and is better than many of them. At last he has given us a hero, for whom we can feel a warm interest. The character of Louis and the Duke are capital—
But I must have done—Pray make our kind remembrances to Mrs. Ricardo and your family and believe me yours ever